The week in smart home: Samsung's Bixby is about to open up to developers

A look back at the week's smart home news

Bixby is about to open up to devs
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It's been another busy week in the smart home this week – as some of the biggest tech giants grapple for a piece of your household.

Sonos' Google Assistant integration is delayed until 2019. Sonos told us that's down to having to build a new hybrid platform for Assistant. In more fun Sonos news, its Sonos One collaboration with Hay goes on sale this week with five new colours.

Amazon households got some new features including third party reminders for Alexa and we reviewed the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. We also got a taste of what future Alexa home hubs will be capable of thanks to some white-box designs.

Elsewhere, Hive announced a new View Outdoor smart security camera and Netflix went live on Sky Q boxes in the UK.

For more on these stories and the other major smart home headlines from the past seven days, head over to our dedicated news homepage. But here are some of the other stories you might have missed.

The week in smart home: Samsung's Bixby is about to open up to developers

Samsung's plans for Bixby 'capsules'

It's Samsung's Developer Conference next week in San Francisco - we'll be there - but it looks like we already know what the biggest smart home announcement will be. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Samsung will announce it's opening up its Bixby voice assistant to developers.

The idea is that devs will be able to create 'capsules' - the equivalent to Alexa's skills - including use cases like recipes and TV controls. That all makes sense and it's about time. Samsung is way behind Amazon, Google and Apple when it comes to adding voice to its home tech ecosystem.

We will hopefully also get an update on its Bixby powered Galaxy Home smart speaker, announced in August with no official release date or price. Bixby is also on recent Galaxy smartphones so that should get a push too.

The week in smart home: Samsung's Bixby is about to open up to developers

Alexa gets political

With the US midterms just days away on 6 November, Amazon has decided to make Alexa more helpful when it comes to elections. Its voice assistant can now tell users where the nearest polling station to vote is, explain ballot measures, who is leading in a local race as well as providing real-time results.

The info is provided by RealClearPolitics, Ballotpedia and the Associated Press which were all chosen to try to keep the Alexa responses as neutral as possible.

Amazon's VP of Alexa information told Mashable: "Customers have always asked Alexa a lot of questions about major current events. We saw high customer engagement with the 2016 presidential debates and election, and we thought we could expand and improve upon the experience."

The week in smart home: Samsung's Bixby is about to open up to developers

The UK gets into the smart home

According to a new survey of 1,000 people from GfK Global, the UK is the fastest growing market for sales of smart home devices in Europe. Sounds about right?

It's also the second largest market in total - worth £900 million in 2017 and that's without £1.3 billion of smart TVs. Smart speakers were the most popular device, doubling between 2017 and 2018. As to what's next, respondents said they were interested in buying products like smart lighting, smart energy management, alarm systems and smart security cameras.

Price is the main barrier to people buying more smart home devices with 41% of people citing this. Second was personal privacy which 23% of people mentioned - to be honest, we're surprised that's not higher.

The week in smart home: Samsung's Bixby is about to open up to developers

Honeywell spins off as Resideo

Honeywell's spin off of its home and smart home business (which includes smart thermostats, smart security cameras and smart security stations) into new company Resideo Technologies is complete. For your purposes, though, you probably don't need to remember that as the Honeywell brand will stay in place thanks to a licensing deal that's in place.

Check out our Honeywell essential guide to find out what products it offers and which ecosystems they're compatible with.


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